The State of Iowa has just cause to be proud of her public school system. According to the census of 1880, there was less illiteracy in Iowa than in any State in the Union. It is of interest to note the causes that produced such a result. the first settlers of Iowa were strongly in favor of universal education, and were determined to give every child within her limits the privileges as least of a common school education. Governor Robert Lucas, in his messge to the first Legislative Assembly of Iowa Territory, which convened at Burlington, November 12, 1838, says, in reference to schools:

"The 12 sections of the act of Congress establishing our Territory, declares, 'that the citizens of Iowa shall enjoy all the rights, privileges and immunities heretofore granted and secured to the Territory of Wisconsin and its inhabitants.' This extends to us all the rights, privileges and immunities specified in the ordinance of Congress of the 13th of July, 1787.

"The 3d article of this ordinance declares, 'that religion, morality and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and all the means of education shall be forever encouraged.'

"Congress to carry out this declaration, has granted one section of land in each township to the imhabitants of such township for the purpose of schools therein.

"There is no object to which I wish to call your attention more emphatically than the subject of establishing, at the commencement of our political existence a well digested system of common schools."

This assembly addressed itself early to the task of providing for a system of common schools, and enacted a law providing for the formation of districts, the establishing of schools, and authorized the voters of each district, when lawfully assembled, to levy and collect the necessary taxes, "either in cash or good, merchantable property, at cash price, upon the inhabitants of their respective districts, not exceeding one-half per centum, nor amounting to more than $10 on any one person, to do all and everthing necessary to the establishment and support of schools within the same."

The second Legislative Assembly enacted January 16, 1840, a much more comprehensive law to establish a system of common schools - a law containing many excellent features. Its provisions were, however, in advance of the existing public sentiment on the subject of education, making ample provision as it did for fee public schools. Even the people of Iowa were scarcely ready for such a law.

In the U. S. census of 1840, very few schools, either private or public, were reported. One academy in Scott county with twenty-five scholars, and in the State sixty-three primary and common schools with 1, 500 scholars, being the whole number reported.

The first section of the act of 1839 for the establishment of common schools provided, that "there shall be established a common school, or schools, in each of the counties of this Territory, which shall be open and free for every class of white citizens between the ages of five and twenty-one years;" the second section, providing that "the county board shall from time to time, form such districts in their respective counties, whenever a petition may be presented for that purpose by a majority of the voters resident within such contemplated district." These districts were governed by a board of three trustees, whose duties were to examine and employ teachers, superintend the schools, and collect and disburse the taxes voted by the electors for school purposes.

Among the earlier enactments of the Territorial Legislature were those requiring that each district maintain at least three months' school every year, and that the expenses for the same be raised by taxes levied upon the property of said district. Among the later enactments was that providing for a county school tax to be levied to pay teachers, and that whatever additional sum might be required for this prupose should be assessed upon the parents sending, in proportion to the length of time sent. The rate-bill system was thus adopted near the close of the Territorial period.

When Iowa was admitted into the Union as a State, December 28, 1846, with a population of 100,000, and a reported school population of 20,000, about 400 districts had been organized. From this time the number of districts rapidly increased, reaching 1,000 in 1849, and 1,200 in 1850. In 1857 the number of organized school districts had increased to 3, 265. The Hon. Maturin L. Fisher, who then so ably filled the office of superintendent of Public Instruction, in his report, dated November, 1857, urged the revision of the school law, and of the reduction in the number of school districts.

The Seventh General Assembly again took up the subject of the revision of the school laws, and on the 12 day of March, 1858, passed "An act for the Public Instruction of the State of Iowa," the first section of which provided that "each civil township in the several counties of this State, is hereby declared a school district for all the purposes of this act, the boundaries of said township being the boundaries of said school district, and every township hereafter laid out and organized, a school district; and each district, as at present organized, shall become a sub-district for the purpose hereinafter provided: Provided, that each incorporated city or town, including the territory annexed thereto for shcool purposes, and which contain not less than one thousand inhabitants, shall be, and is hereby created a school district." This law took effect March 20, 1858, and reduced the number of districts from about three thousand five hundred, to less than nine hundred.

In December, 1858, a law was enacted providing that any city or incorporated town, including the territory annexed thereto for school purposes, may constitute a school district, by vote of the majority of electors residing in the territory of such contemplated district. In 1860, the provisions of this act were estended to unincorporated towns and villages containing not less than three hundred inhabitants.

By an act passed April 3, 1866, this privilege was further extended to any city or sub-district containing not less than two hundred inhabitants, and containing territory contiguous thereto. It soon became evident that by this amendment a serious innovation would be made in the district township system, by the formation of independent districts in the more thickly settled and wealthier portions of the townships. The amendment was repealed early in the session of the following General Assembly.

The township system met the approval of every State Superintendent. The sub-district system was opposed strenuously by Hon. A. S. Kissell, who desired each township a school district to be governed by a board of directors elected at the annual district township meeting for the term of three years. In his report dated January 1, 1872, he says:
"In this system every township becomes a school district, and all sub-district boundaries are abandoned; and if this plan were carried into effect in this State, it would allow no other school divisions than those of the independent and township districts. The most experienced educators of the country have advocated this system. Among these are such men as Horace Mann, U. S. Commissioner Barnard, Ex-Governor Boutwell, Dr. Newton Bateman, of Illinois, Dr. Gregory, late Superintendent of Michigan, and the County and State Superintendents of one third of the States of the Union. The arguments advanced by many of these experienced school men are unanswerable. Massachusetts and Pennsylvania have tested the system practically for several years; it is pronounced by these States a success; and this successful experiment of three or four years should have greater weight with us in this young and growing commonwealth than any theoretical arguments that could be advance."

Notwithstanding the efforts and array of argument, and the conviction on the part of those who had made a special study of this subject, the General Assembly which convened January 8, 1872, enacted a law providing for the formation of independent districts, from the sub-districts of a district township. This law has ever been a plague to County Superintendents, and several efforts have been made to effect its repeal, but without avail.

Every Governor that Iowa has had has given his warmest approval of the common school system. Governor James W. Grimes in his inaugural message, December 9, 1854, displays broad statesmanship, advanced and liberal views and eminently sound philosophy in the following language:

"Government is established for the protection of the governed. But that protection does not consist merely in the enforcement of laws against injury to the person and property. Men do not make a voluntary abnegation of their natural rights, simply that those rights may be protected by the body politic. It reaches more vital interests than those of property.

Its greatest object is to elevate and ennoble the citizen. It would fall far short of its design if it did not disseminate intelligence, and buile up the moral energies of the people. It is organized to establish justice, promote the public welfare and secure the blessings of liberty. It is designed to foster the instincts of truth, justice and philanthropy that are implanted in our very natures, and from which all constitutions and laws derive their validity and value. It should afford moral as well as physical protection by educating the rising generation; by encouraging industry and sobriety; by steadfastly adhering to the right; and by being ever true to the instincts of freedom and humanity.

To accomplish these high aims of government, the first requisite is ample provision for the education of the youth of the State. The common school fund of the State should be scrupulously preserved, and a more efficient system of common schools than we now have should be adopted. The State should see to it that the elements of education, like the elements of universal nature, are above, around and beneath all.

It is agreed that the safety and perpetuity of our republican institutions depend upon the diffusion of intelligence among the masses of the people. The statistics of the penitentiaries and alms-houses throughout the country abundantly show that education is the best preventative of pauperism and crime. They show, also, that the prevention of those evils is much less expensive than the punishment of the one and the relief of the other. Education, too, is the great equalizer of human conditions. It places the poor on an equality with the rich. It subjects the appetites and passions of the rich to the restraints of reason and conscience, and thus prepares each for a career of usefulness and honor. Every consideration, therefore, of duty and policy impels us to sustain the common schools of the State in the highest possible efficiency.


In 1860 there were in the county forty-five school-houses, $20 worth of apparatus; 2,202 persons of school age; 2,150 pupils enrolled in the schools; average attendance of 1, 323, and 104 teachers employed. The average salary per week was $5.70 for males, and $3.54 for females; the value of school-houses was $17,001, and the total amount paid teachers during the year was $6,331.44.

In 1865 there were 70 school-houses; $122.80 worth of apparatus; 3,024 persons of school age; 2,289 scholars enrolled in the schools; an average attendance of 1,272 and 145 teachers employed. The average salary per week for male teachers was $6,10, and for females $4.09. The value of school-houses was $25,697; the total amount paid teachers during the year was $9,243.77.

Here are presented a few items form the Superintendent’s report of 1871, for the purpose of showing by comparison the growth of the county in educational matters:
Number of sub-districts in the county in 1871…………140
Number of persons between the ages of five and twenty-one……………….5,761
Of which are males…………………………..2,941
Of which are females…………………………2,829
Number of pupils enrolled …..4,639
Number of pupils in attendance…..3,127
Total number of teachers in the county …..233
Of which are males……82
Of which are females…..151
Length of school in days
Summer term…………..7,990
Winter term…………….9,272
Average compensation of male teachers per week……………….$10.13
Average compensation of male teachers per week………………..$10.13
Females…………………………………………….…..………….$ 6.85
Average cost of tuition per week for each pupil, (summer)……….,33
Same in winter…………………………………………………………32
Total number of school-houses in the county…………………………131
Frame ………………………………………………………………….122
Total value of school-houses in the county…………………….. $84,160
Number of volumes in district libraries……………………………..19
Value of apparatus…………………………………………….….$903.70
The number of schools visited by the County Superintendent this year………….118
Number of visits made this year……………………………………………….….207

As to the examination of teachers, the total number examined in 1871 was:
Number received premium certificates…….…….5
Number received first grade certificates………...42
Number received lower grade…………..……….96
Total number certificates issued………………..143
Number applicants rejected……………..29

J. R. Stewart, in the same report, from which the above items wee taken, under the head of “General Remarks, “ reviews Tama county’s educational interests as follows:

In my report for 1869-70, I mentioned that a noticeable advancement had already been made in taste regarding the construction of school-houses. Many of our districts imitate the bet samples of school architecture they can find, and build to a degree of perfection and convenience, quite up to their ability. Eight new houses have been built since that report, and four, then in progress of construction, have been completed.

The complaints I then made in regard to irregular attendance, may still be made, but with less severity than then. In many of our schools the teachers have adopted a system of regular weekly reports to parents under the heads of punctuality, standing, deportment, absence, and grades upon recitation. In all such cases the per cent of punctuality has improved wonderfully. Nine different boards of directors have arranged the course of study for their schools and appointed their visiting committee, which has both systematized their work, and given the schools absence of responsibility to, and oversight, by some authorized body. The practice among boards generally, however, is to “let the machine run itself, “ to hold the regular meetings required by law, fix the salaries of teachers, adjust the boundaries of districts when the necessity arises, and having done this, stand aside and let their opportunity and the interests of the school depart, hand in hand, “down the back entry of time.”

”Educational Work”. The Institutes of the county have been well attended, and given valuable aid to our schools. The teachers deserve much praise for the interest they have taken in them. Few teachers have been absent in them. Few teachers have been absent from them. An effort was made to keep up township associations by the teachers during last winter. The effort was only partially successful. It will be renewed again the coming winter. Small reference libraries have been put into a number of our schools during the year, and I think the need of them is now felt by all the teachers, and by most boards. Something has been done to fill up the lack of maps, charts, globes, etc., but furnishing peddlers have done much to disgust honest buyers, and so hindered many schools from being supplied.

My statistical report will show visitations, examinations, etc., and the general expenses of the schools to the county. The cost of our schools is much more than it should be, considering their efficiency. They are slowly gaining ground, and will soon give ample return for all their cost.

I am compelled to close this report, at this late date, with one township not yet heard from. That township failed last year and the showing it makes, is mainly from my own estimates.

From the report of the Superintendent or 1880, we learn that Tama county had the following:
Number of district townships………12
Number of independent districts……..76
Number of sub-districts………..95
Number of ungraded schools………167
Number of rooms in graded schools ……..26
Number of teachers employed ……336
Male teachers…….115
Female teachers……….221
Average compensation to male teachers $31.19
Average compensation to female teachers $25.52
Number of children between the ages of five and twenty-one years ………..7220
Of which are male…………….3729
Of which are female……………….3471
Enrollment in public schools……………5853
Total average attendance……………….3422
Average cost of tuition per month per pupil………….$1.65
Number of school houses in the county .....172
Of which are frame....163
Of which are brick....6
Of which are stone....3
Total value of school houses......$133,399
Total value of apparatus...... $1,854
Number of volumes in libraries.....59

For the year 1882, the following table, gives the number of scholars in each district township, how many are enrolled and how many are in average attendance:

Average attendance, No. enrolled, No. in twp.
Buckingham………108 160 161
Carrol1................... 122 259 314
Clark. …………….. 86 219 184
Crystal…………….133 259 268
Grant……………….99 208 218
Highland…………..113 178 230
Indian Village..........151 184 247
Lincoln……………107 194 194
Oneida…………….138 806 272
Perry ………………105 127 195
Tama (outside city……. 27 36 43
York ……………… 205

The independent city districts arranged to cover the same facts stand as follows:
Buckingham………….. 19 65 69
Dysart…………….. 104 150 203
Gladbrook………….124 168 208
Montour…………….109 136 221
Toledo City…………246 828 472
Traer City………….. 170 272 318
Tama City………….. 812 392 504

In 1882, Superintendent J. P. Hendricks published a pamphlet of instructions to teachers entitled, "Course of study for the ungraded schools of Tama county."

The object in view in presenting this course of study to the teachers and directors of the country schools of the county, was to establish, if possible, uniform classification and to introduce the principles observed in the best graded schools. It was not expected that the methods of operation would be, or ever could be, followed as fully, and with the same exactness, as in a well graded school of several departments. Still the steps of progress can be designated and followed. The studies are so arranged as to be adapted to the natural development of the faculties of the mind. The course also provides for a number of terms of study, and as an incentive for faithful work, presents a definite end to be attained. That is, the pupil takes up each branch of study and pursues it until, a sufficient knowledge of it is acquired to allow him to advance to a higher grade, and finally, to graduate in the course of study. In short, the plan makes graded schools of every educational institution in the county.

Another important improvement has just been adopted by Prof. Hendricks in what is termed "School Record." It is a blank which is given each teacher to be filled just before the end oaf the term, which will show to the successor just how far each scholar has advanced in studies, and obviates that necessity of spending time in reviews, determining where to place scholars, as in former days. It is really a report of classification and progress and is very beneficial as it enables the teacher to at once know the condition of the school. Tama county has two hundred and fifty persons authorized to teach in the public schools, and among this number are found some of the most successful teachers in the State. Many have had the advantage of training in professional schools. Thirty-six of the teachers completed the course of study in the County Institute, in 1882, and over one hundred entered the second year of the course. For scholarship, natural ability and successful experience, the teachers of, Tama county rank with the best in Iowa. Of the two hundred and fifty teachers, two hundred and five are now actively engaged in teaching; have a total enrollment of about 5,675 pupils, and an average attendance of nearly 3,200.

There are but two grades of certificates in the county. First grade requiring an average of ninety percent and an experience of three terms teaching, and the second grade requiring an average standing of, eighty percent. All teachers pass a rigid examination in the branches required by law to be taught in the schools. In these examinations it is aimed to find out not only what the applicant knows of the branches of study, but also, how well he can impart his knowledge to others. Attention is given to the scholarship as it is an axiom that a person can not tell others what he does not know himself. The schools are succeeding nicely and the attempt to secure uniformity of text books is meeting with much encouragement. About one hundred and twenty-five of the schools are now working under the graded system, and. the County Superintendent, urges the teachers to do practical work. This they are doing, as a rule, the useful and necessary being attended to first.

When Tama county was organized in 1853, educational matters in Iowa were managed in a primitive way. The School Fund Commissioner was the only, educational officer, and as the name implies, had, special control of the school funds, and, in fact, his authority extended no farther. There were no public examinations of teachers as in later days, as the directors themselves examined the teachers they wished to employ, and if not satisfactory, the applicants were rejected.

When the county was temporarily - organized by the election held in March, 1853, there were two candidates for the office of School Fund Commissioner, D. F. Bruner and Anthony Wilkinson, both of whom, are still residents of Tama, county. The result was, that both parties received, an equal number of votes, so neither was elected This made a vacancy in the office, and in July, Noah Myers was appointed to fill it. Noah Myers came from Washington county, Indiana, and in 1852, with his family, settled in Toledo township. In 1857, he removed with his fami1y to Missouri, where, when last heard from, he still lived. Mr. Myers was naturally bright and smart; quick spoken, genial and pleasant. A peculiarity of his external appearance was that in walking, he always carried his head to one side. He figured in the Whig and Know-Nothing parties.

In April 1856, Lewis S. Frederick was elected to the office of School Fund Commissioner, and was the last person elected to the office. Frederick came Tama county with his family in 1853, and settled in Spring Creek township, where he engaged in farming. He was a very pleasant man, and to all appearances, was in comfortable circumstances; but during his official career in Tama county, he succeeded in appropriating a large amount of the school funds. He had been handling a good deal of money, and had collected considerable that had been due the county on mortgages. Suspicions were aroused, that he intended to make some move of this kind, and that he had been using public money for private purposes. He was therefore arrested and placed in charge of the village Constable. During the evening of the day upon which he was arrested, he pulled off his, boots and asked, the Constable to allow, him to step to the door. The request was granted, and no sooner did Fredericks reach the rear of the house, than he made a run for liberty, and evading most diligent and careful search, succeeded in making his escape.

This was late in the fall of 1857, after the ground was frozen. The amount he succeeded in obtaining is variously estimated at between five and ten thousand dollars; although a portion of the sum was replaced by the bondsmen, a bill being passed through the General Assembly permitting the county to accept the proportionate amount, of the bond from the various signers. Frederick's family soon after left the county, and it is supposed, joined him.

In all the years that have passed since that time, he has never been heard from except indirectly. Jeremiah Harden was then appointed to fill the vacancy in the office of School Fund Commissioner, and served until the office was abolished by law. Harden was a native of Michigan, from which State he came in 1854, and settled in Toledo with his family. He was a carpenter, and did not allow the duties of the office to interfere very much with working at his trade. He remained here until 1859, when he left for parts unknown. During the winter of 1857-8 the office of School Fund Commissioner was abolished by an act of the General Assembly.

The duties of that office, as regards the management of the school funds, devolved upon the County Judge, and subsequently, when the Board of Supervisors was created, these duties passed into their hands, and still remain there. The duties of the Commissioner, so far as schools and educational matters in general are concerned, passed into the hands of the

which office was at that time created. His duties then were the same as at the present day, except that now he has charge of the Normal Institute Fund, which at that time did not exist.

The first Superintendent of Schools was WOODHULL HELM, who was elected in 1858. Helm was a native of New York and came to Tama County in 1855, settling with his large family in Indian Village township, where he engaged in farming. When elected, he did not move to the county seat as there was but little to do. He was a pleasant, affable gentleman, and a man of integrity and worth. He was a medium sized man, heavily built, and was badly crippled by the rheumatism. He remained in the county until after the war, and then, being interested in some mining enterprises in the South, he went to North Carolina. He afterwards moved to Colorado, where he died some years ago. A number of his relatives still remain in Tamacounty.

In October, 1859, JOHN RAMSDELL was elected County Superintendent, and two years later he was re-elected, serving four years. He is now an enterprising citizen of Tama City, and has since been Mayor of that place. He was born in Salem, Massachusetts, January 1, 1810. He is a son of William Ramsdell of that place, who was an old sea captain, having spent many years on the ocean. John remained in his native town until sixteen years of age, and then followed a sailor’s life for eight years. At the expiration of that time he engaged in the leather trade at Milford, New Hampshire, in which business he continued to engage until 1853, when he removed to Tama county, Iowa, where he purchased a farm upon which he lived until 1879, and then settled in the town of Tama City. Mr. Ramsdell helped to organize this township, and was one of the first trustees. In politics he was formerly an Abolitionist and Whig, but is now identified with the Republican party. Since his settlement here he has taken an active part in the business interests of this town; at the present time holding the office of Director and Trustee of the Water Power; also the Presidency of the Paper Company, and is a Director of the First National Bank of Tama City. During the year of 1831 he was united in marriage with Miss Theresa T. Moore, a native of Milford, New Hampshire, and a daughter of Humphrey Moore, D.D., a Congregational minister. They have nine children living --- John M., Charles E., Theodore G., Frank H., Henry E., Maria T., Edward E., and Frank B. Mrs. Ramsdell died in 1864 and Mr. Ramsdell was again married in 1865 to Sarah Dascomb, a daughter of Colonel Luther Dascomb, of Milton, New Hampshire. They have one daughter, Mary R.

T. L. DOWNS succeeded Mr. Ramsdell to the superintendency, being elected in October, 1863, and re-elected in October, 1865. Downs came to Tama county from Illinois in 1858, and settled with his family in Carlton township, near where Garwin has since been platted. He was a school teacher by profession and followed teaching most of the time until elected to office. He was a well educated man, pleasant and genial, and gave good satisfaction as an official. In personal appearance he was tall and slightly built; was an energetic fellow, and of rather a nervous temperament. He died about the time his term expired. His widow lives in Montour.

His successor was J. R. STEWART, who qualified in January, 1868, and being re-elected in 1869 served until January, 1872. Mr. Stewart was a native of Pennsylvania and came here from Chicago, where he had been teaching school. Upon his arrival here he followed the same profession, becoming principal of the Toledo schools. Upon being elected he opened an office at the county seat, and attended to the duties in a most efficient and satisfactory manner. He was a thoroughly educated and well read man; gentlemanly and courteous, affable and pleasant, and made many friends. He had the "knack" of suiting himself to the company he was in and often in the evening he would go with the young people, and have as good a time as any of them did. Shortly after serving his term of office he went back to Illinois, and is now upon the editorial staff of the Illinois State Journal, in Springfield, Illinois.

REV. FAYETTE HURD was the next Superintendent of Schools of Tama county, commencing duties in January, 1872. He was a Congregational minister preaching in Montour at the time of his election. Soon after his term expired he left the county. He was a well educated man, having graduated from some one of the eastern colleges, and was well fitted for the place to which he was elected.

In October 1873, A. H. STERRETT was elected to the office and served for two years. Sterrett was a native of either New York or Pennsylvania, and settled in Tama county about the time of the war, engaging as a teacher in Toledo. He was fairly educated, well read, pleasant and affable and made many friends. In personal appearance he was rather prepossessing, with dark eyes and hair, and of medium size. As a teacher, it is said he was too severe in his punishments, consequently was not much beloved by his scholars. As superintendent of Schools, he gave good satisfaction. He is now a traveling agent of a harvester company, and lives in Grinnell, Iowa.

H. A. BROWN was his successor, as County Superintendent, being elected in the fall of 1875, and re-elected two years later. He was a Baptist preacher and came to Toledo from Des Moines to fill the pulpit of that denomination, several years prior to his election. He was a thoroughly educated man, pleasant, genial, a great talker, and a "preacher of long sermons." He made a good Superintendent, educational matter being closely attended to while he was in office. Soon after the expiration of his term he went to Belle Plaine, where he was principal of the graded schools. From there he went to Des Moines.

Succeeding Mr. Brown, A. H. STERRETT was again elected and served until January 1882.

In the fall of 1881 JOHN P. HENDRICKS, the present County Superintendent of county, Wisconsin, where he purchased a mill and engaged in the milling business in conection with farming. During the fall of 1861, he raised Company I, of the 13th Wisconsin Volunteers, and served as Captain of that company nearly two years. He was then honorably discharged on account of sickness, having been taken with an attack of hemorrhage of the lungs. Mr. Lauderdale spent the winter of 1863-4 in Wisconsin, and the following spring came to Tama county, Iowa, and located on section 19, of Columbia township.  He now owns 400 acres in one body and a timbered lot on the Iowa river. In politics he is a Republican and has held the office of County Supervisor, besides several of the township offices.
Thomas M. Malin, an enterprising farmer of Columbia township, was born in Belmont county, Ohio, May 21, 1824. His parents were Minshall and Julia A. (Barton) Malin, natives of Pennsylvania. In early life he received a fair common school education, and later, learned the carpenter trade of his father, which occupation he followed until 1862, when he bacame engaged in farming. During the spring of 1866, the subject of our sketch removed to Tama county, Iowa,and immediately located on section 14, of Columbia township, where he now owns a farm of 120 acres, eighty acres of which is under cultivation and the rest is timber. In politics he is a Greenbacker and is a strong advocate of soft money. He has held the offices of Township Trustee, Justice of the Peace and School Director. Mr Malin was married, in 1849, to Miss Martha J. Yocum, also a native of Belmont county, Ohio.  She is a daughter of Mark and Mary (Street) Yocum, natives of the same county.  They have eight children living: George M., Mary E., Emma J., Laura W. A., Elmer M., William Ellis, Anna V. and Rachel C.
Geo. M. Malin, a son of Thomas and Martha Jane (Yocum) Malin, is a native of Ohio, born in Belmont county, of that State, July 24, 1851. During the spring of 1866, he removed, with his parents, to Tama county, Iowa. He received a common school education, and after his setlement in this county, spent four winters in teaching--his first school being in district No. 6, of Columbia towhship. In the fall of 1876, he was married to Miss Amy Spire, daughter of Christopher Spire. The following year Mr. Malin removed to his present place, where he now owns 160 acres of well improved land. Mr. and Mrs Malin have three children living--Mabel F., Ellis C. and Thomas M. In politics Mr Malin is a Republican.
John Doyle was born in county Wexford, Ireland, in October, 1834. During 1853 he came to America, and first settled in Jo Daviess county, Illinois, where he soon engaged in farming. In 1865 he removed to Scott county, Iowa, and at the end of three years, came to Tama county, settling on section 28, Columbia township, where he now lives on a fine farm of 200 acres. Mr Doyle was married in 1861, to Miss Ellen Enright, a native of Ireland, and born in 1839. They have ten children living--Annie, born July 31, 1862; Michael, born February 14, 1864; Maggie, born August 7, 1865; John, born February 3, 1867; Maurice, born March 31, 1869; Peter, born August 28, 1871; Dennis, born October 5, 1873; Martin, born November, 19, 1875; Mary, born October 28, 1877; Stephen E., born May 22, 1881.
Lemuel Sexton, a son of Enoch and Elizabeth (Wood) Sexton, was born in Madison county, Indiana, on the 18th of March, 1833. He was reared on a farm and received a good common school education. Mr Sexton remained in his native county until thirty-two years of age, with the exception of two years spent in Grant county, of that State. During the spring of 1865, he removed to Tama county, and the following year purchased a farm, which he afterwards sold. In 1868 he settled on section 33, Columbia township, where he now owns 82 acres of land. In politics he is a Democrat and has held the office of Township Trustee five years. Mr. Sexton was married in 1855 to Miss Nancy Lucas, a native of Ohio. She died in 1863.  He was again married in 1870 to Angeline Ward, a native of Indiana. They have two children living: Charles and Emma.
The following brief history of Honorable William Hartsock, is a fine illustration of what self-reliance can accomplish under discouraging circumstances. William Hartsock is a native of Knox county, Ohio, born May 20, 1852. His grandfather was born in 1749,in the city or fortness of Kehl, in the grand Duchy of Baden, Germany, and emigrated to America in 1753.  William's father was born in Washington county, Pennsylvania. William's mother was Miss Amy Cox, a grand-niece of Dr. Benjamin Rush, who was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and was a descendant of an officer of that name in Cromwell's army. His father was a wealthy farmer, and owned extensive mill property, but he engaged in an unlucky enterprise, that of shipping flour from Brownsville, Pennsylvania, to New Orleans. In this he was not succesful, as the flour spoiled in transportation. Having lost most of his property, he gathered up what he had left and came to Knox county, Ohio. Here William was born in 1825. When he was twelve years of age his father realizing the fact that an old settled country was not the place for a poor man, very wisely concluded to emigrate to Illinois, and settled in Green county of that State. William remained with his parents on the farm, having only educatinal privileges of very inferior district schools during the winter months. Here his father died in the firty-first year of his age, without having accumulated much property. After the Black Hawk purchase, when the excitement ran high for cheap lands, immigrants came on horse back, in wagons and every way except on railroad, to secure land in the new Territory. Young William, who was then seventeen years of age, started on horse back to what is now the great State of Iowa. He crossed the Mississippi river at Burlington on the 7th of April. When eight miles north of that place, he was overtaken in a heavy hail-storm, and seeing a cabin in the distance, attempted to reach it. The storm became so severe that he had to dismount, his horse became unmanageable and got away, taking with him William's entire outfit, which consisted of an axe and iron wedge which he was carrying in a pair of old fashioned saddle bags. On reaching the cabin, the pioneer told him there was another settler about four miles further on the road, and the horse would probably stop there. After partaking of the kind hospitalities of the pioneer, the next morning he started in search of his horse which he found at the place suggested by his host. He took a claim in his mother's name nine miles southwest of Iowa City. After making some rude improvements he went and moved his mother and family, with a team consisting of one yoke of cattle, to their new home. As money was scarce and employment that would command money, hard to obtain, he concluded to try steam-boating, which occupaton he followed for two years on the upper Mississippi and Ohio rivers. In 1853 he was married and moved still farther west, settling in Keokuk county, on a farm which he had purchased in 1850.  While a resident of Keokuk, Mr Hartsock made many friends, and in the fall of 1867, was elected by the Republican party to the office of Represenative by a large majority; a position which he held one term giving satisfaction to his supporters. In the spring of 1870, Mr Hartsock and family came to Tama county and settled in Columbia township, since which time he has been engaged in farming. Throughout his life he has endeavored to maintain a high standing as a man of high moral integrity, always realizing that a clear head, a strong hand, and an honest purpose would always insure success. His habits have been strictly temperate, and he was an earnest advocate of the constitutional amendment, as voted for by the people of Iowa, June 27. 1882. He has been a member of the Christian Church for many years. Mr Hartsock was first married to Miss Catharine Heaton, of Clarksville, Pennsylvania, with whom he lived until November 26, 1868, when she died, leaving him the care of five children, three daughters and two sons, and in 1869, he was married to Mrs. A. A. Biggs, a widow, who is his present wife. Mr. Hartsock has a happy home with all the conveniences of the modern farmer.

J. H. Smith is a son of John B. and Sarah (Hoover), Smith, and was born in Clearfield county, Pennsylvania, June 24, 1826. He lived in his native county until about thirteen years of age and then removed to Indiana county of that State, where he grew to manhood, after which, he returned to Clearfield county, and there remained until 1862. At that date Mr. Smith came to Iowa, and located in Scott county, where he followed farming until 1870, then came to Tama county and settled on his present farm on section 34, Columbia township, where he now owns 240 acres. He has held the offices of School Director and Town Trustee. Mr. Smith's second marriage occurred in 1862, at which time Miss Phoebe Patterson became his wife. She was born in Clearfield, Pennsylvania, April 29, 1838, and is a daughter of John and Nancy (Ray) Patterson. Nine children have been born to them: Sarah A., born october 8, 1863; Luella M., born May 1, 1865; Rebecca I. H., born December 8, 1867; Luranda H., born September 11, 1868; Clara A., born June 10, 1870; Morris H., born January 29, 1872; Eva D., born December 9, 1874; Walter J., born June 24, 1876, and died August 16, 1876; Lucretia E., born September 6, 1879.
James Phillips is a native of New Hampshire, and was born in the town of Roxbury, Cheshire county, July 27, 1807. His parens were Leavitt and Mary (Hinds) Phillips. James was reared on a farm and received his education in the common schools of Roxbury. When twenty-three years old, he removed to Chautauqua county, New York, where he lived fourteen years and then located in Erie county, Pennsylvania. There he engaged in farming until his removal to Tama county, Iowa, in 1858. Mr. Phillips first bought a farm of 160 acres in Howard township, but soon sold it and purchased one in Toledo township, two and a half miles west of Toledo village. He farmed there thirteen years and then settled on section 15, of Columbia, where he has since resided. His first marriage occurred in 1829, at which time he was united with Miss Louisa Hinds. She bore him five children, four of whom are now living, Henry, Jessie, Thomas and Louisa, and died in 1840. Mr. Phillips was again married in 1841, choosing for a help-meet, Miss Emily Woodruff. Three children were born to them, two of whom are living, William and Elizabeth. This wife died in 1856. The following year he led to the alter Louisa Jane Kelly, a native of Pennsylvania. They have one child living, George.
Martin Keup was born in Bavaria, August 9, 1824. His youth and early manhood were spent on a farm in his native country. During 1853, he came to America and first settled at Princeton, Bureau county, Illinois, where he spent six years working in a brick yard, and then purchased a farm of 40 acres, upon which he lived until his removal to Tama county, Iowa in 1873. He settled on section 29, Columbia township, where he now owns an excellent farm of 193 acres, all of which is under cultivation. Mr Keup was joined in wedlock, in 1857, with Eliza Shmoll, who bore him nine children, eight of whom are living: Catharine, Andrew, Mary, Eliza, Annie, George, William and Eva. She died on the 4th of March, 1876. The subject of this sketch again married, April 19, 1877, choosing for a wife Elizabeth Sanderhee, who was born at Hanover, Germany.
Robert M. Powers is a native of Illinois, born in Hancock county, of that State, December 11, 1856. He is a son of Abner and Martha E. (Strong) Powers. In 1869 the family removed to Iowa county, Iowa, where they settled on a farm. After receiving a good common school education, the subject of this sketch attended Iowa College one term. In 1873 his parents came to Tama county, locating on a farm in Columbia township, where his father died in 1878; his mother still lives. Mr Powers taught his first term of school during the winter of 1876-7, at school No. 7, of Wheatland township, Carroll county. Since that term he has been constantly teaching in the winter, with the exception of the winter if 1879-80. He is now holding a term of school at No. 8 Columbia township.



Application was made on the 5th day of February 1856, by Joshua Burley, that the township of Richland be divided and a new one formed to be called Columbia, and it was so ordered by the County Court, containing township 82, range 15, west of 5th principal meridian. The first election was held at the house of Joshua Burley, on the 7th day of April, 1865, with the following result: Milton C. Gettis and Henry C. Morrison, Constables; John D. Gettis, George W. Morrison and George H. Stoddard, Trustees; Leonard Stoddard, Clerk: William T. Hawley, Assessor. There were 21 votes polled.
Following is the record of elections since that time:
April 6, 1857. Joseph Lufkin and John W. Coe, Constables; Leonard Stoddard, Clerk; Joseph L. Croskrey, Supervisor; George W. Morrison, James Trowbridge and John W. Coe, Trustees.
1858--George W. Morrison, James Trowbridge and Wm. Thompson, Trustees; Leonard Stoddard, Clerk.
1859--Isaac Toland, Justice; Milton C. Gettis and Samuel A. King, Constables; John Walz, Wm. Stoddard and John Fife, Trustees; George W. Morrison, Assessor; Leonard Stoddard, Clerk.
1860--Isaac Toland, Supervisor; H.L. Biggs, S.I. Cady and John Fife, Trustees; Leonard Stoddard, Clerk; Wm. Thompson, Assessor.
1861--Joel Hoag, Geo.W. Morrison and Jacob Croskrey, Trustees; C.J. Rhoades, Clerk; Leonard Stoddard, Assessor; C.J. Rhoades and Leonard Stoddard, Constables.
1862--Joel Hoag, G.W. Morrison and Jacob Croskrey, Trustees; G.W. Morrison, Supervisor; Madison Bostwick and C.J. Rhoades, Justices of the Peace; L. Stoddard, Clerk; James Trowbridge, Assessor; John Walz and C.R. Blake, Constables.
1863--Joel Hoag, G.W. Morrison and Jacob Croskrey, Trustees; L. Stoddard, Clerk; John A. Eshbaugh, Assessor; C.J. Rhoades and E.C. Rhoades, Constables.
1864--John Ross, Supervisor; Joseph Yates and John A. Eshbaugh, Justices of the Peace; Thomas Watts and Sylvester Phillips, Constables; Wm. Cory, Clerk; Joel Hoag, John Cory and James Trowbridge, Trustees; James Trowbridge, Assessor.
1865--Joseph Lufkin, Constable; James Trowbridge, Assessor; Wm. Stoddard, John Ross and Joel Hoag, Trustees; Wm. Cory, Clerk
1866--Wm. Cory, Supervisor; A.H.Gray and Joel Hoag, Justices; Isaac Toland, Henry Cory and Joel Hoag, Trustees; W.G. Malin, Clerk; Jemes Trowbridge, Assessor; Fred Sanborn and W.F. Burley, Constables.
1867--James Trowbridge, T.M. Malin and N. Randolph, Trustees; Henry Cory, Assessor; W.G. Malin, Clerk; B.C. Berry and Isaac Toland, Justices; Fred Sanborn and W.F. Burley, Constables.
1868--James Wilkinson, Supervisor; B.C. Berry and James Wilkinson, Justices; James Trowbridge, F.M. Malin and L.C. Robb, Trustees; A.H. Gray, Collector; James Trowbridge, Assessor; W.G. Malin, Clerk; Fred Sanborn and Leonard Stoddard, Constables.
1869--t.M. Malin, Justice; T.M. Malin, Wm Stoddard and W.F. Eshbaugh, Trustees; John Cory, Assessor; W.G. Malin, Clerk; Albert Cory and Joel Hoag, Constables.
1870--Wm Hartsock and James H. Fee, Justices; B.C. Berry, W.F. Eshbaugh and Wm. Stoddard, Trustees; Albert Cory and W.F. Burley, Constables; W.G. Malin, Clerk; L.F. Stoddard, Assessor.
1871--Hiram Bissell, John Walz and J.G. Sanborn, trustees; Christopher Spire, Clerk; L.F. Stoddard, Assessor; B.C. Berry and Lyman Everett, Constables.
1872--John A. Eshbaugh and Wm. Hartsock, Justices; Lyman Cary, Asessor; L.F. Stoddard, Clerk; W.H. Stoddard, James Trowbridge and John Stoakes, Trustees; Wilder Leonard and Michael McCallister, Constables.
1873--C. Spire, Justice; L.F. Stoddard, Clerk; E.C. Pennell, Assessor.
1874--Wm. Cory and Leonard Stoddard, Justices; A. Zehrung, T.M. Malin and John Stoakes, Trustees; L.F. Stoddard, Clerk; James Trowbridge, Assessor; Wilder Leonrd and A.P. Leavitt, Constables.
1875--H. Bissell, Assessor, A.P. Leavitt, Clerk; W.H. Stoddard, T.M. Malin and Adam Zehrung, Trustees.
1876--Wm. F. Eshbaugh and Wm. Cory, Justices; Hiram Bissell, Assessor; A.P. Leavitt, Clerk; Wm. Stoddard, W.G. Malin and l. Cory, Trustees; Harman Schwerdtfeger Constable.
1877--Wm. F. Eshbaugh, Assessor; A.P.Leavitt, Clerk; John Duffy, L. Sexton and Jacob Croskrey, Trustees. During the year, A. P. Leavitt resigned and S.E. Peck, was appointed in his place May 6, 1878.
1878--Wm. F. Eshbaugh and Wm. Cory, Justices; L.F. Stoddard, Assessor; G.A. Hutchison, Clerk; Lyman Cory, W.G. Malin and L. Sexton, Trustees.
1879--H. Bissell, Assessor; G.A. Hutchison, Clerk; W.G. Malin, Trustee; Dan Barnt, Constable.
1880--Hiram Bissell, Assessor, Wm. Peck, Clerk; E.S. Carpenter, Trustee; Wm. Hartsock, Wm. F. Eshbaugh and Edward Yates, Jr., Constables.
1882--W.G. Malin, Assessor; G.A. Hutchison, Clerk; John Duffy and Wm. Stoddard, Justices; James Trowbridge, Edward Yates, Jr. and Dan Barnt, Constables.
G.A. Hutchison, the present Clerk of Columbia township, is a native of Belmont county, Ohio, born March 29, 1857. His parents were James P. and Mary R.(Hatcher) Hutchison. The former is a native of Washington county, Pennsylvania and the latter was born in Belmont county, Ohio. The subject of this sketch received a good common school education and afterwards attended an academy. In 1870 he left his native place for Tama county, Iowa, and during the first eight years of his residence here, made his home with W.G. Malin, of Columbia township, and was engaged in teaching during the winter months and farming the balance of the year. In 1878, Mr Hutchison purchased his present farm of 120 acres on sections 23 and 24 of Columbia township. In politics he is a Greenbacker. During 1879 he was united in marriage with Miss Emma Malin, a daughter of Thomas Malin. Two children bless their union, Laura Blanche and Martha. Mr Hutchison's father is still living, but his mother died June 15, 1878.


When application was made to Judge Vermilya to organize this township it was proposed to call it "Litchfield," in honor of Litchfield county, Connecticut, from whence the Stoddard family came. A number of old settlers joined in asking for this name, but Joshua Burley succeeded in having Judge Vermilya name it Columbia.



The first school taught in this township was at the house of William Stoddard by Miss Elvira O. Stoddard during the winter of 1855-6.
There are now nine school-houses in the township as follows: Union School-house, district No.1, is located on section 12. The first school taught in this district was at the house of Martin Pickett, on land now owned by Reinhard Metz. This school was taught during the winter of 1857-8, by Frank Stoddard. The first house built for school purposes was located about fifteen rods east of where the present one stands, and was built for a dwelling house by Daniel Haythorne. The present house was built during the summer of 1869 at a cost of $800. The district has 29 pupils.
In district No. 2, the house is located in the southwest corner of the southeast quarter of the southeast quarter of section 4. The first building erected for school purposes in this district stood on section 3, and was built in 1858. It was afterward sold and the present one built at a cost of $1,100. The first school in this district was taught by Mrs. Hazelette, during the winter of 1858-9.
In district No. 3, the building is located on the southwest quarter of section 5, and was built at a cost of $300. The first school in the district was taught at the house of Joshua Burley. The second was in a building which is now used as a granary by Thomas Everitt. The district has 20 scholars. The first school was taught by Elizabeth Burley.
In district No. 4, the school-house is located on the northeast corner of section 19, and was built in 1870 at a cost of $850. The first school was taught by John Scott during the winter of 1870-1. The district has 30 pupils.
District No. 5--After this district was organized, the first school was taught at the house of James Trowbridge, by Miss Elvira O. Stoddard, during the winter of 1861-2. The school house was built in 1865, and was then located near the northwest corner of the northeast quarter of section 21, and was built at a cost of $400. It has since been moved to its present location near the northeast corner of section 21. The district numbers 30 pupils.
In District No. 6, the school house is located in the southeast corner of the northwest quarter of the southeast quarter of section 23, and was built in the fall of 1865. It was then located in the 40 acres east of its present location. The first school taught in this district was in a cabin on Edward Yates' farm, on section 23, in 1865, by Miss Nannie Musser, now the widow of Dr. Rickey. There are now 42 scholars in the district.
In District No. 7, the building is located in the southeast corner of section 26. It was built during the summer of 1866, at a cost of $900, and then stood on section 25. The first school in the district was taught at the house of Mrs. Biggs, now Mrs. Wm. Hartsock, on section 25, during the winter of 1864-5. The district has 45 scholars.
In District No. 8, the school house stands in the northwest coner of section 34, and was built in 1870 at a cost of $800. The first school taught in the district was by Miss Eliza Sanborn. There are now 30 scholars in the district.
District No. 9, was the last district set off in Columbia township. The school house is located in the southwest corner of section 29. It was first located in the northeast corner of section 31, upon land donated to the disrict by Lyman Cary.


A Methodist Episcopal Society was organized at the school house in Columbia village by Rev. Kelley, in 1880. Among the first members were Mr. and Mrs. Ira Gettis, Milton Gettis and wife, Cynthia Gettis, S.J. Cady and wife, Wm. Stoddard and wife, and George, Elvira, Mary and William H. Stoddard, John A. Eshbaugh and wife, Sarah and Lavina Everett, and Caroline Croskrey. At first the pulpit was supplied from other places, afterward this place formed a circuit with Chelsea, Grandview and Haven. Preaching has been held at different places in the neighborhood until the summer of 1882. At the last meeting of the officers, in 1882, it was decided to unite with Tama City Church.
The Society of Friends was organized in 1878 by Elizabeth Foster and Anna Yates. Among the first members, were Joseph Yates and family, B.C. Berry and family, Joel Hoag and family and John Cory and family. Services were held at Grandview school house, every two weeks until December, 1878, when the society was discontinued on account of many members having moved away.
The Presbyterian Society of Corinth was organized at the Chase school house, (No. 2), in 1860. Among the first members were John Fife and wife, Wm Thompson and wife, Isaac Toland and wife, Robert Strain and wife, and two daughters; Samuel Strain and wife, Mrs. E.J. Johnston and Mary Toland. The first pastor, was Rev. Luther Dodd. He was located at Toledo, and supplied this place once in two weeks. He was succeeded by Rev. Benjamin Bew, then came Rev. Wm. Messmer, then Rev. Mr. Gordon, and Rev. James Stickles. The place of worship was afterward moved to Columbia school house, (No.3), and afterward to the Fife school house in Tama township. The society is now united with the one at Tama City.


The township has never had but one post office, and has none at present. Ola post office was established at the house of Geo. W. Morrison on section 1, in 1854, and he was appointed first postmaster. In 1857 it was moved to Columbia village and name changed to Columbia. S.J. Cady was appointed postmaster. He was succeeded by William Hawley. Upon the establishment of an office at Iuka, this office was abandoned. Joshua Burley was also postmaster here for a time.


This village was laid out in 1856, on section 5, by Milton and John D. Gettis. The town was but little more than one on paper, although a hotel was built in 1857 and the post office of Ola was moved to the village. A saw mill was also built by Gettis Bros., which remained about nine years. All traces of the town has long since passed away.


The first death in the township was a child of James West and wife. It died in the spring of 1852, and was buried on their farm on section 1.
The first birth was a son of E. and N.J. Chase, March 1, 1853. The first marriage was of Mr. John A. Carlton with Miss Sarah A. Stoddard in 1855. There are four cemeteries in this township. One located on the northeast corner of the northwest quarter of section 12. The first interment here was____ Ritenhouse. Another cemetery is located on the southwest quarter of section 29, and still another in the northeast corner of section 23. Several bodies were interred in the southwest quarter of section 5.


The "Sons of Temperance" was organized at the Starr school house (No.7), in March 1976. The charter members were: D.J. Peck, Emma J. Malin, Ira Wilcox, C.H. Hookirk, G.A. Hutchison, S.S. Peek, Moses Pickett, Wm. M. Peek, M. Herbage, C. E. Cory, Celia Rogers, Luella Pickett, Frank Hartsock, Miss J.E. Fowler, Annie E. Cory, Etta Brown, Mrs. Moses Pickett, Wallace Pickett, Wm. H. Cory, Mrs. Wm. Hartsock, G.S. Payne, Lestie Hatfield, Marion Brown, Wyley Brown and James A. Merritt. The first officers were: J.A. Merritt, G.W.P.; D.J. Peek, W.P.; Celia Rogers, W.A.; S.F. Hartsock, R.S.; Moses Pickett, Chaplain, Luella Pickett, Treasurer; Wm. M. Peek, Conductor. The society flourished, holding their meetings every two weeks, until June 26, 1880, when it was merged into the Blue Ribbon Society.


In 1860 a literary society was organized by the citizens of the southeastern part of the township, for the purpose of mutual improvement. This society has been in running order most of the time during the winter seasons since, and has proved a source of considerable intellectual profit to the neighborhood. Topics of the day have been ably discussed. During the war when all was excitement, this neighborhood shared the public excitement with the rest. C. Spire was one of the leaders in the literary movement and a talker upon the political issues of that day. The people of this vicinity pronounced him a Copperhead. Not to be outdone and to prove that other good men had been in their times of like opinions as himself, he presented the following question for debate in the Lyceum, "Resolved that Jerehiah the prophet was a copperhead." The disputants were C. Spire and Wm. Cory for the affirmative, Elder Rhoades and Joseph Yates for the negative. The subject was ably discussed for four evenings and was finally decided in the affirmative, that "Jeremiah, the prophet was a copperhead."


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